When it comes to exclusive games, the PlayStation 4 is at the top of the console heap. It’s the runaway leader in sales this generation, effortlessly surpassing its Xbox One and Nintendo Switch competitors. It begs the question: Does it really come down to the games?
Whether you’re into sports games like MLB: The Show and Gran Turismo Sport or action games like The Last of Us and selections from the Uncharted series, there’s a game on Sony’s platform for you. The list is only growing by the day, too, with Sony and its partners creating even more great games. Here’s our list of the best PS4 exclusives, as well as a handful of games that are also available on PC.
Death Stranding (also on PC)
A divisive but rewarding game for those willing to put in the time, Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding certainly shares some of the same elements with his earlier Metal Gear series — but there are few games worthy of a true comparison. As Sam Porter Bridges, you act as a delivery person for a group looking to reconnect a fractured America after an apocalyptic event.
Told through Kojima’s signature lengthy cutscenes as well as the dialogue during gameplay, the bizarre story involves another dimension, babies capable of detecting dark creatures, and a bunch of other stuff we don’t pretend to understand. Death Stranding is also packed with an absolute all-star cast, including Norman Reedus as the protagonist, Mads Mikkelsen, Guillermo del Toro, and Léa Seydoux.
Read our full Death Stranding review
God of War
Sony Santa Monica managed to turn God of War from a dated action series on its last legs into one of the most acclaimed games of all time with 2018’s God of War. The soft reboot didn’t erase any story threads from previous games, but by placing protagonist Kratos in the land of Norse mythology rather than rehashing Greek monsters, it managed to simultaneously feel fresh and familiar. The addition of Kratos’ son Atreus and a focus on open-ended exploration make for a more atmospheric and alive game than its predecessors, and God of War is among the most impressive-looking games on the console.
But one can’t discuss God of War without mentioning how downright brilliant the combat is. The new Leviathan Axe controls perfectly, with a neat “recall” ability allowing you to summon it back into your hand after throwing it, and the moves you can pull off after filling out your skill tree only make each encounter feel more varied and unique. Not to mention the fact that the entire game is one continuous camera shot — it truly is one of the most impressive PS4 games to date.
Read our full God of War review
With the Dark Souls series at the height of its popularity, FromSoftware and director Hidetaka Miyazaki worked with Sony to offer the PlayStation 4 its own exclusive take on the formula. Bloodborne is a faster and more aggressive type of Souls game, prioritizing quick movement and nearly constant attacks to take down the many terrifying enemies plaguing Yharnam. Though the game only really supports one play-style, it’s balanced so well – and the bosses are so entertaining and well designed – that you won’t notice the loss of variety.
It helps that Yharnam is the most creative and gorgeously realized world FromSoftware has ever created, blending Victorian-era architecture and classic enemies with Lovecraft-inspired monsters that are nothing short of terrifying. Even when you win a battle, you’re always scared of what’s around the next corner. Fans have been pleading for a followup and we’re hoping it happens sooner rather than later.
Read our full Bloodborne review
Nioh (also on PC)
Finish Bloodborne but still need more monster-killing, Souls-like action? Team Ninja’s Nioh might seem like a simple imitator at first glance, but the game builds on FromSoftware’s framework with a ton of customization options, optional abilities, and inventive monsters to fight. Set in feudal Japan and starring an outsider named William, Nioh blends historical events and locations with fantastical Yokai monsters that test every skill you’ve learned along the way.
Nioh is a brutally difficult game, but it always feels fair, with enemies that make use of telegraphed moves that you can learn to counter if you’re paying attention. As you progress and get more comfortable with combat, you’re able to pull off some incredible feats, and even the most enormous and nasty monsters will be no match for your sword. Its sequel, Nioh 2, is an excellent choice as well.
Read our full Nioh review
There are surprisingly few Diablo-like, loot-filled action games on the PlayStation 4, but Housemarque’s Alienation is one of the best. The alien-invasion game sees you – and possibly your friends – as you battle your way through urban and rural environments filled with dangerous enemies, but your high-powered weapons and armor suits give you the tools you need to take them down.
Alienation is brutally difficult, especially near the end, and all but demands a cooperative partner to enjoy it properly, but it definitely scratches the same loot itch as Diablo III or Path of Exile, and its science-fiction setting is a nice change of pace from the fantasy and magic of those games.
Ignore the memes and jokes you’ve heard about the original Knack for just a moment, and you’ll realize that Knack 2 is a genuinely well-designed family-friendly action game. Building on the barebones gameplay from the original, the sequel allows you to temporarily shrink the titular hero in order to make it through a puzzle, only to grow massively in size when it’s time to beat up a particularly tough enemy.
Though the story isn’t on par with something from Pixar, Knack 2’s humor is written well enough to please both children and their parents, and its challenge is balanced enough to keep older kids playing for hours on end without their younger siblings losing interest. Knack is most certainly back, and he’s a whole lot better.
Read our full Knack 2 review
Ratchet & Clank
Though technically a new version of the original PlayStation 2 game Ratchet & Clank, Insomniac’s 2016 version was remade from the ground up. The humor, characters, and story threads you remember from over a decade ago are all still present, but the platforming and third-person shooting controls feel completely modern. It’s a perfect choice for introducing kids to games you played back in the day, but even those completely new to the series will have a blast with it.
Perhaps one of Ratchet & Clank’s more underappreciated qualities is its brevity. There are plenty of side activities to do and collectibles to find, but if you just want to stick to the critical path and make it to the end of the story, you can easily do so in a weekend.
Nex Machina (also on PC)
Housemarque recently decided to leave the arcade shooter genre behind in favor of something a little more contemporary, but the studio certainly gave its old games a proper sendoff with Nex Machina. Designed with the help of Robotron 2084 and Smash TV designer Eugene Jarvis, Nex Machina is a lightning-fast classic shooter with perfect controls, plenty of secrets to find, and nearly infinite replayability.
It only takes a few hours to make it through the game from start to finish, but that’s if you’re playing relatively well. Nex Machina is insanely difficult, particularly when you face some of its later bosses. The satisfaction you feel after finally reaching the end is immense, and you’ll be ready to start it right back up for another run.
Read our Nex Machina review
A launch title initially available through PlayStation Plus, Resogun is a remarkably simple side-scrolling aerial shooter, but it also happens to be one of the best games on the PlayStation 4. As you move a small ship around the tube-like levels that make up the game, you blast away at enemy obstacles and rescue small green humans struggling to survive on the ground.
Resogun is all about hitting a high score, but making it through a stage and defeating a new enemy for the first time is still a rush. Of course, once your friends pass your score, you’ll immediately have to go back into the game and kick their butts again.
Rez Infinite (also on PC)
A remastered version of one of the most underrated rail shooters of all time Rez Infinite is absolutely stunning on the PS4, with its gloriously weird visuals displayed at 1080p resolution in 60 frames per second. The music-basic shooting is addictive enough to keep you glued to your screen for hours, and the songs are sure to get stuck in your head.
When you do tire of staring at the television, you can jump into the game — literally — with its PlayStation virtual reality (VR) mode. It’s included for free with the standard version of the game, and 3D audio means you’ll be even more immersed.
Killzone: Shadow Fall
Killzone: Shadow Fall served as the perfect technical showcase for the PlayStation 4 in 2013, with its gorgeous and varied environments, impressive weapon effects, and detailed facial animations showing new console owners why they purchased it in the first place. The campaign’s morally ambiguous take on the conflict between the Helghast and ISA makes for some unexpected moments near the end, and it sets up an exciting next chapter – if we ever get one.
Shadow Fall’s multiplayer shouldn’t be overlooked, however. Though relatively basic, the quick matches are engaging and rewarding, without fewer frustrating “who killed me?” moments than other, similar games.
Read our full Killzone: Shadow Fall review
The Last of Us Part II
Following up one of the best games of all time is certainly no easy feat — and while some argue that it’s not quite as good as the original, The Last of Us Part II is still one of PS4’s absolute greatest games, critically and commercially. It takes the world and characters of its predecessor and tells the tale of revenge from the point of view of two protagonists.
This dichotomy makes for an uncomfortable, yet empathetic way of storytelling, showing just why these two women are on a quest for revenge. You might not agree with their decisions or actions, but this game proves that it isn’t just a battle of good guys versus bad guys. Combine that with exceptional stealth/action gameplay and some of the (if not the) best performances from its cast and you get an absolute master class of a game, even if it doesn’t quite live up to the high expectations set by the original.
In one of the most impressive and downright fun superhero games of all time, Marvel’s Spider-Man takes the beloved character and introduces a heartfelt story that you’re sure to enjoy. The game isn’t afraid to hit you right in the feels, but also has some of the best traversals we’ve seen in a video game, thanks to its web-slinging. Zipping across New York City as Spidey is one of the game’s standout moments, as is the game’s ability to integrate lots of love from the comics and memorable performances from its cast of characters. This may very well be the best Spider-Man game to date, and, thankfully, we have even more to look forward to with Spider-Man: Miles Morales later this year.
Read our full Marvel’s Spider-Man review
Ghost of Tsushima
The PS4’s last major exclusive before the next generation is Ghost of Tsushima, and it’s an absolute blast. In it, you have a huge open world, tons to do, and an in-depth combat system that rivals many of its contemporaries. But aside from all that, it’s one of the system’s most beautifully stunning games we’ve seen, with lots to enjoy thanks to its photo mode. Much like Sony’s first-party games, Ghost of Tsushima focuses on narrative, giving us a cinematic take on story. It might not grab you in the same way something like The Last of Us Part II does, but its narrative will have you invested, along with its engaging gameplay.
Read our full Ghost of Tsushima review
The Last of Us Remastered
Few games in history have received the kind of universal acclaim The Last of Us has, and Naughty Dog’s magnum opus earned every bit of it. The apocalyptic story sees grizzled protagonist Joel and teenager Ellie on a mission to uncover the cure for a pandemic turning humanity into zombie-like creatures, but they soon discover that it’s other healthy people who can be an even bigger threat.
Combining traditional third-person shooting with stealth and crafting mechanics, The Last of Us constantly forces you to keep track of your resources, but it never feels frustrating like some survival games. The PlayStation 4 version, The Last of Us Remastered, also supports 60 fps, making it the ideal platform to experience the game. With The Last of Us Part II on the horizon, Naughty Dog might have yet another entry on this list after it releases.
Read our full The Last of Us Remastered review
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
If you didn’t own a PlayStation 3 or – for some crazy reason – never played the original three Uncharted games, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is a must-own. The bundle includes Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted: Among Thieves, and Uncharted: Drake’s Deception all on one disc, allowing you to play the stories from start to finish. From discovering El Dorado to escaping from a precarious train, all of Nathan Drake’s original adventures are included.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection also includes new trophies, so even veterans may want to give it a chance, as well as a photo mode to capture your best moments. It all looks gorgeous on the PlayStation 4, and the exploration and action both hold up surprisingly well several years after the games’ initial release. You probably already have this game in your library, since it was given away for free earlier this year.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End underwent development turmoil and effectively rebooted with the help of The Last of Us directors Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann, but you wouldn’t know that by playing it. Nathan Drake’s last adventure is a love letter to fans, packing in plenty of cerebral puzzles, intense shootouts, and enormous set-pieces alongside a heartfelt and often hilarious story. Joined by Sully as well as his brother Sam, Nathan must choose between his family and his love for adrenaline, even it if means losing those he loves.
Designed from the ground up for PlayStation 4, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a technical powerhouse, and it even includes a few nods to developer Naughty Dog’s older games like Crash Bandicoot. Once you’ve finished The Nathan Drake Collection, you have to check this one out.
Read our full Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End review
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Nathan Drake is the face of Uncharted, but that doesn’t mean he’s the only character worthy of their own game! In Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which acts as a standalone sequel and expansion to Uncharted 4, Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross are the stars. The two heroines head to India to locate a treasure and thwart the plans of a local criminal, and the banter between the two feels remarkably different from that of Nathan Drake. The action is still as satisfying as ever, and the locations explored are among the best in the entire series.
It’s unclear if The Lost Legacy will be the last Uncharted game, but if it is, it serves as a perfect finale. Later chapters feel like callbacks to earlier games in the best way possible, and they help us appreciate the talent of Naughty Dog that much more.
Read our full Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review
Horizon Zero Dawn (coming to PC)
We thought that Transformers would be the exclusive home for robot dinosaurs for all eternity, but Guerilla Games proved us wrong with Horizon Zero Dawn. Set hundreds of years after a mysterious event brought about the end of modern civilization, the game begins as a small-scale adventure focused on mere survival before opening up into a thrilling science fiction epic filled with twists and revelations.
The writing in Horizon Zero Dawn is so good that it can be easy to overlook how insanely satisfying its combat is. Using a variety of bows, protagonist Aloy can take down human enemies as well as enormous dinosaur-like machines, which have weak points that must be exploited. Every encounter is a puzzle, and that makes them all the more satisfying. It’ll be headed to PC on August 7, 2020.
Read our full Horizon Zero Dawn review
inFAMOUS: Second Son
One of the earliest PlayStation 4 exclusives, Sucker Punch’s Infamous: Second Son took the superhero powers of the previous two games and went nuts with them, giving protagonist Delsin Rowe access to Smoke, Television, Neon, and Concrete abilities. The powers allow Delsin to quickly zip around Seattle and take out the nefarious government workers hoping to imprison or destroy all “Conduits” wielding superpowers, and he can easily outrun or hover over most of them if things get too hairy.
As with the first two games, Infamous: Second Son lets you play as a good hero or an evil supervillain, with your look gradually changing if you plunge into the moral abyss. The story can change as a result, too, making a second play-through essential.
Read our full Infamous: Second Son review
inFAMOUS: First Light
One of the more interesting supporting characters in Infamous: Second Son was the neon-wielding Fetch, but her backstory wasn’t properly explored during the events of that game. Instead, Sucker Punch gave her the spinoff title Infamous: First Light, which touches on her family and the abuse she has suffered at the hands of the government.
First Light limits you to the neon powers available to Fetch rather than the different types Delsin has access to in Second Son, but it’s still a ride worth taking – if you are a longtime PlayStation Plus subscriber, you likely have First Light on your account already, as well.
Read our full Infamous: First Light review
While Days Gone was divisive when it launched in 2019, it’s still worth checking out, especially now that many of its technical issues have been ironed out. It offers a rewarding survival gameplay loop, with an expansive open world to explore, along with excellent performances from its characters. It doesn’t necessarily do anything new from a gameplay perspective, but it’s gorgeous and fun to mess around in. Taking out huge hordes of zombies (Freakers) is immensely satisfying — even if you’ve experienced it before in other games. Despite its criticisms, Days Gone has a solid foundation that will likely be expanded upon in a possible sequel.
Read our full Days Gone review
Yakuza 0 (also on PC)
The Yakuza franchise has been around for well over a decade, but if you’re just entering it for the first time, the prequel Yakuza 0 is a great place to start. Set in the ‘80s, the game sees protagonist Kiryu in his early days of organized crime, pulled into a conspiracy of which he never intended to be a part.
In classic Yakuza fashion, Yakuza 0 mixes dramatic storytelling and melee combat with bizarre, surreal mini-games and side activities. If you want to run a cabaret club or purchase real estate to grow your income, you can do so, and you can even visit telephone clubs to talk to women in the hopes of getting a date.
Jump forward several decades and you’ll be taken into the latest Yakuza adventure, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life. Kiryu finds himself in prison following the end of a nasty gang war, and upon his release, he finds his world has changed considerably. The injury of a loved one throws his life into disarray – as does the arrival of an unexpected child.
Yakuza 6 might just be the weirdest game in the entire series, with side activities ranging from stopping a baby’s cries to spearfishing and even finding homes for residents of a cat café. Yakuza 6 even lets you play baseball and scout new players while you’re out and about, and you can command a clan of allies in a strategy game against other players online.
The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian began its life as a PlayStation 3 game, and some of that is evident in the bleak exploration-heavy title’s textures and artwork, but scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find an incredibly emotional and rewarding adventure. Much of the game only features two characters – a boy and his beast companion Trico – and their relationship feels genuine, despite a language barrier.
Though far from perfect, The Last Guardian is a wholly unique experience, and when compared to the bombastic games we tend to see this generation, it’s a breath of fresh air.
Read our full The Last Guardian review
Gravity Rush 2
Another follow-up to a Vita game, Gravity Rush 2 is one of the craziest action-adventure games available on the PlayStation 4. Switching between low-pressure social interactions and crazy anime-like boss fights against enormous monsters, the game manages to make both feel important, and a jazzy soundtrack will have your head bobbing up and down the entire time.
Despite the excellent main story, it’s even more fun to just soar around Gravity Rush 2’s floating cities, as protagonist Kat’s gravity-shifting ability allows her to fall depending on the direction she has selected. This is also how you take out enemies, with Kat charging toward them before delivering a fatal kick.
Read our full Gravity Rush 2 review
Shadow of the Colossus remake
2005’s Shadow of the Colossus is often regarding as one of the best games ever made and is an incredible example of games as art. In the game, the only enemies you face are the 16 Colossi you’ve sworn to kill in order to revive your dead love, each of which poses a unique challenge as you must discover a way to climb on top of them and deliver a killing blow.
The somber and oddly serene tone of the original game is only enhanced in the 2018 PlayStation 4 remake, which has received such a visual overhaul that it feels like an entirely new game. Colossi are particularly detailed, with flowing hair visible as you battle them, and it makes the game’s most emotional moments that much more impactful.
Read our full Shadow of the Colossus review
Sports and racing
PS4 exclusives are usually known for emphasizing dark, gritty, and realistic narratives, but in Everybody’s Golf, all that goes out the window. And that’s fine by us, because it’s refreshing to sit down and play a few holes in this wonderfully wacky sports game. You’ll probably be captivated by its charm and humor, but its gameplay is just as solid, offering challenging and rewarding arcade golf to enjoy. But golfing isn’t the only thing you’ll be doing. Everybody’s Golf features a free roam mechanic that allows you to explore the game’s various courses with your custom character — letting you take a break when you don’t feel like golfing. It’s weird, it’s silly, and it’s a joy to play.
Read our full Everybody’s Golf review
MLB The Show 19
MLB The Show 19 is Sony San Diego’s iteration yet of the premier baseball sim. While the core gameplay is largely the same as recent years, subtle fielding improvements bring the defensive side of the equation to the level of realism seen at the plate. It’s one of the most realistic and engaging sports games ever made.
The Show 19 borders on having an embarrassment of riches, with its excellent Road to the Show, Diamond Dynasty, and Franchise modes. But the latest entry also adds perhaps the most engaging mode of them all: March to October. The clever mode lets users work through a season quickly by introducing objective-based tasks that compress seasons to 10 or 20 games. Your success or failure influences your team’s simulated play until the next task. A new Moments mode lets you relive some iconic baseball moments, such as portions of Babe Ruth’s career.
Read our full MLB The Show 19 review
WipEout: Omega Collection
We haven’t gotten a true sequel in the WipEout series for several years at this point, but you can experience the fantastic futuristic racers on PlayStation 4 in WipEout: Omega Collection. Bundling together WipEout HD with WipEout HD Fury and WipEout 2048, the collection supports 4K HDR resolution on the PlayStation 4 Pro, making it one of the most visually stunning games on the system.
If you have a PlayStation VR headset, you can also try WipEout: Omega Collection in virtual reality via a free update. The action moves to first-person, giving you a whole new perspective on racing, provided that you don’t start puking.
Gran Turismo Sport
We went nearly an entire console generation without a new Gran Turismo game, but it was worth the wait. Gran Turismo Sport is a tremendously detailed racing game complete with 4K, 60 fps, and HDR support on PlayStation 4 Pro, and cups sanctioned by the FIA racing body offer some of the fairest and most competitive multiplayer matches you’ll see anywhere.
Gran Turismo Sport comes with PlayStation VR support, as well, so you can marvel at the detail of the cars and see what it’s like to race at well over 100 MPH from the driver’s seat – if you aren’t too afraid to hit the gas.
Read our full Gran Turismo Sport review
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Easily one of the best PS4 exclusives is Final Fantasy VII Remake. As the name suggests, it’s a remake of the 1997 original, but it also serves as a reimagining. Without getting into spoilers, the remake’s story is mostly what you remember from the PS One classic, but with many twists and turns. It features a compelling new take on combat, effectively blending real-time action with a new menu-based system that offers a diverse and unique way to take out enemies.
As with most PS4 exclusives, it’s beautiful, features an engaging story, and has a fun gameplay loop. While some were disappointed with its linearity, others really enjoyed it, as it makes it easier to focus on the heart of the game’s story and wonderful characters. This game only covers a portion of the original — as a result, we’ll be getting at least one more game (possibly more) to round out the entire narrative.
Read our full Final Fantasy VII Remake review
Pyre (also on PC)
From Supergiant, the developer behind acclaimed (and gorgeous) games like Bastion and Transistor, Pyre is a turn-based role-playing game packed with style. The party-based game is the largest the studio has made to date, and as your squad continues on their journey and battles new groups of Exiles, they are rewarded with additional abilities.
Once you’re done with the single-player campaign, you can jump into Pyre’s competitive multiplayer. The one-on-one mode tasks you with extinguishing your opponent’s ceremonial flame as you battle it out with your own characters, and only the best strategists can come out on top.
Read our full Pyre review
Persona 5 Royal
Regarded as a modern classic and one of the best role-playing games ever made, Persona 5 is an incredibly ambitious game, and Persona 5 Royal expands upon it. As a phantom thief, it’s up to you to fight corruption (and demons) by entering the worlds inside people’s hearts and destroying the darkness you find.
During the day, however, you’re just another student. In addition to going to class and partaking in field trips, you can explore Tokyo and watch a movie at the theater, make new friends, or take a dip in the bathhouse. It’s all about maintaining your secret and ensuring you can continue your work at night. Royal is an enhanced version of the 2017 original, offering new characters, quality of life improvements, and more content that make this the definitive version of the game.
Read our full Persona 5 review
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (also on PC)
The original Ni No Kuni managed to not only be a fantastic traditional role-playing game, but also a showcase of Studio Ghibli’s gorgeous artwork. The famed animation company wasn’t involved in Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, but its developers include a few former employees, and the warm and detailed designs we expect from Ghibli are still on full display.
Ni No Kuni II makes some major changes to its predecessor, utilizing an action-heavy combat system and even some building and strategy elements, but its charm should still win over Japanese role-playing fans and anime fans alike.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix
Kingdom Hearts 3 finally released in 2019, but for those looking to get into the series for the first time – or those in need of a refresher course – you shouldn’t pass up Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix. The collection includes retooled versions of the first two main games, as well as Kindom Hearts 358/2 Days with remastered cinematics, Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.
It all sounds a bit overwhelming but the wondrous world Square Enix has created by mixing its own characters with Disney is unlike anything else, and there is a surprising amount of depth to the lore if you’re willing to dig into it.
There are plenty of great horror games available on PlayStation 4, including the excellent and VR-compatible Resident Evil 7, but few of them try to emulate the tension and campy tone of classic slasher films. Supermassive’s Until Dawn boldly does so with a branching story that allows nearly anyone to die at any moment based on the decisions you make, and it often manages to surpass the films it reveres.
It helps that the game has an all-star cast of actors performing in it, including Hayden Panettiere, Rami Malek, and Peter Stormare, each of whom is represented in the game with nearly identical character models.
Detroit: Become Human (also on PC)
French studio Quantic Dream has been creating narrative-focused adventure games for two decades, and the company has developed a reputation for its long-winded and occasionally confusing story threads. Detroit: Become Human is the developer at its very best, however, telling the stories of three different androids living in a dystopian city while still managing to feel focused and purposeful.
As with Quantic Dream’s other titles, Detroit is all about player choice, with your actions having long-term consequences that can massively influence the final ending — but these never feel cryptic or confusing. Instead, they’re natural progressions of your decisions, and they make the game nearly infinitely replayable.
Read our full Detroit: Become Human review
Journey (also on PlayStation 3, iOS, and PC)
A gorgeous, atmospheric, and surreal exploration experience unlike anything else available, Journey is a game best played with as little knowledge as possible going in. As you explore its sand-covered world and push forward toward your goal, you’ll eventually realize you are joined by other players. Though you can’t speak to each other in the traditional sense, you both connect nonetheless.
Journey is one of the most beautiful games ever made, with a gorgeous soundtrack and a bright art style that looks like it was ripped from a picture book. If you purchase the PS3 version, you’ll gain access to the PS4 version at no extra charge, and the game was previously available as a PlayStation Plus freebie.
Read our full Journey review
Few games let you play as a ballerina – we guess mustachioed plumbers are more relatable – and even fewer manage to do so in a game as gorgeous as Bound. Taking place inside the mind of a dancer, you travel throughout her childhood as you traverse the gorgeous and surreal environments crafted by Plastic.
3D platformers are hard to do right, with many developers making the same mistakes now that they did in the ‘90s, but Bound’s focus on the grace and beauty of motion as well as changing environments keep it from feeling stale.
The original Tearaway was released as a PlayStation Vita exclusive, and for good reason. Media Molecule’s papercraft adventure made heavy use of the console’s features, including its rear touchpad, gyroscope, and even its camera. This would seemingly make it a poor fit for an enhanced PlayStation 4 port, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Tearaway Unfolded takes the basic structure of Tearaway and reworks it to highlight the best elements of the PlayStation 4, including the controller’s light-bar and touchpad. You’ll still get all the same surprises and challenges you got in the Vita version, as well, and a second player can use an app to customize the world around you.
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition (also on PC)
Sure, Street Fighter V may have had some of its thunder stolen by the excellent Dragon Ball FighterZ as of late, but Capcom’s latest fighting game still proves why the Street Fighter franchise has been champion of fighting games for well over two decades. With a wealth of characters, including newcomers like Rashid and F.A.N.G., there’s always a new strategy to try in the hopes of beating your opponent.
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition packs in previously-released DLC characters with a second V-Trigger ability, the titular arcade mode, a UI overhaul, gallery, and Extra Battle mode. Even better? It’s free for anyone who owns the original version.
The King of Fighters XIV
One of the most underrated fighting series around – despite being a mainstay of tournaments for years – The King of Fighters is a great option for those looking for a different kind of 2D fighter, or those interested in 3-on-3 battles instead of Street Fighter’s single-fighter system. The latest chapter, The King of Fighter XIV, includes an upgraded combo system, including auto-combos for newer players, and there’s a “party battle” option if you want to take things online.
Not happy with the character you chose in a match? The King of Fighters XIV includes 50 of them, and you’ll see them duke it out in the latest story mode, as well.
The Nintendo Switch has its own exclusive creation tool in Super Mario Maker 2. If players want to make literally any other type of game — or even their own version of Mario — they can play the PS4-exclusive Dreams. Created by Media Molecule, it’s both a game and a creation tool, and the included campaign was designed using the same features available to players. Everything from first-person shooters to narrative adventures can be built in Dreams, and those without a knack for creation can still have a ton of fun playing the games others build.
Dreams requires patience, but the ability to design honest-to-goodness games without knowing coding or fancy PC software is remarkable. It could be the next big thing to train young game designers.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission
Arguably the best PSVR game is Astro Bot Rescue Mission. Not only is it a blast to play, but it feels made specifically for PSVR and wouldn’t be possible if it were presented as a traditional game. In it, you’ll be platforming, taking out enemies, and collecting coins, but you — the player — serve as the camera and can shift perspectives by actually moving your body. The game plays with this idea and introduces interesting ways to change the camera’s view — all in VR. It’s simple to pick up and play, giving you an accessible and fun way to get into PSVR.
Blood & Truth
With PlayStation VR having already been available for a few years, Sony could no longer offer tech demonstrations disguised as full video games. Its London studio was tasked with expanding on the ideas in its “London Heist” segment from PlayStation VR Worlds, resulting in the shooter Blood & Truth in 2019. Despite being based on a short teaser, it’s one of the best shooters available in virtual reality.
Blood & Truth is heavily inspired by British crime films from Guy Ritchie, and it retains the sense of style and action that makes his work so exciting. Mixed into the gunplay are smaller, quieter sections focused on traversal, and there are car shootouts in case your blood pressure hasn’t spiked enough already.
Virtual reality lends itself best to first-person games, but that doesn’t mean a third-person perspective can’t be done well. The adventure game Moss is proof, as it manages to blend traditional 3D action – controlled by a gamepad – with world manipulation through the PlayStation VR headset. In essence, you feel like you’re in control of both the adorable mouse protagonist and the entire world, and its classic fantasy storytelling is charming enough to keep you playing to the very end. Despite VR targeting an older audience, Moss is a great game to play with your kids by your side, as well.
Read our full Moss review
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
Thrill-seeking players may have reached the end of Until Dawn and decided that they wanted to experience something just as terrifying in virtual reality. If that sounds like you, you’re insane, but Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is exactly what you’re looking for.
Set on the world’s most dangerous roller coaster, you must utilize your arsenal of weapons to defeat the monsters hoping to murder you, and with multiple paths to choose from, you haven’t seen the whole game once you reach the end. A leaderboard is also included so you can see which of your friends kept their cool the best, and if you’d be the one to survive a horror movie.
Batman: Arkham VR (also on PC)
Many games have promised to let you become Batman, but only one really meant it. Batman: Arkham VR lets you try out Bruce Wayne’s arsenal of high-tech gadgets, solve puzzles, fight off baddies, and, naturally, solve crime in the way only the world’s greatest detective can.
From a first-person perspective, you get to experience a slice of Batman’s life in a way the other Arkham games could not, and Gotham City has never felt more real. Though it’s a very short game, Arkham VR does include some interesting developments for a few key characters, and it’s worth playing for any Batman fan.
Read our full Batman: Arkham VR review
Virtual reality shooters tend to be on rails, not allowing players to wander and adjust their strategy, but Farpoint bucks that trend to great effect. As the sole survivor of a failed mission, you’re trapped on a mysterious planet loaded with bug creatures and robots that definitely don’t want you to be there.
You’re able to explore the world at your own pace and with the PlayStation Aim controller, it feels like you’re shooting the enemies with a real weapon. As you make it further into the story, brief asides reveal the history of humanity on the planet, and show you that you aren’t alone.
Read our full Farpoint review
- The best single-player games (August 2020)
- The best games to play after finishing The Last of Us Part II
- The best anime video games
- The best cheap PC games under $20
- The best Xbox One games for July 2020